The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Falls

    12
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Burns

    4
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Groped

    2
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Groped

    9
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Malaria

    5
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Robbed

    5
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Robbed

    13
  • Beaten

    3
  • Giardia

    8